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10 enchanting experiences in regional Victoria 

Countless fantastic finds are dotted around Victoria.

Indoors or outdoors, natural or not, there is plenty to please all tastes.

We’ve rounded up a mere slice of what’s on offer, from lesser-known activities to signature attractions.

Be enchanted by regional Victoria, with a little help from these treasures…

Nightlights, Swan Hill style. Scroll for more.

1. Californian redwoods, Great Otway National Park

As an experiment in the 1930s, a collection of the world’s tallest tree species was planted in these scenic surrounds. Turns out, they thrive in the environment. The neck-craning giants make for incredible viewing and can be spied within a designated picnic area, roughly 30km inland from Apollo Bay. This spot is a short drive from Hopetoun Falls, one of a cluster of flowing features found in this gem-rich national park.

Alternatively: Tackle the iconic 30km-long Black Spur Drive, dominated by the sight of cloud-piercing mountain ash trees and lush ferns between Healesville and Narbethong.

Stay at: BIG4 Apollo Bay.

Towering trees, y'all: Great Otways' Californian redwoods are absolute giants.

2. The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Bendigo

On the fringes of Bendigo and surrounded by gorgeous gardens sits a spectacular structure that has been years in the making. This intricate, bright white building is the western world’s largest stupa with a base that measures 50sqm and an overall height of 48m. Self-guided and group tours of the sacred Buddhist pagoda are filled with interest and insight. A must-visit attraction in Bendigo.

While in the city…tour the historical Central Deborah Gold Mine.

Stay at: BIG4 Bendigo Ascot, BIG4 Bendigo Marong, or BIG4 Bendigo Park Lane.

Impressive: The Great Stupa.

3. Heartbeat Of The Murray laser light show, Swan Hill

This outstanding sensory experience combines lights, lasers, water, sounds, and special effects to retrace the rich past of the Murray River and its surrounding landscapes. The Murray acts as a backdrop for the nightly show, which must be seen first-hand to truly appreciate.

Alternatively: Witness a dramatic sound and light show at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in Warrnambool.

Stay at: BIG4 Riverside Swan Hill or BIG4 Swan Hill.

Want more magical Murray experiences? See here.

The laser light show is entertaining, educational, and enchanting. 

4. Ales on Rails, Castlemaine

The Victorian Goldfields Railway’s relaxing steam-train rides between Castlemaine and Maldon create a signature regional experience. The addition of Ales on Rails simply makes it irresistible. The selected services provide tastings of delicious craft beers from a handful of regional brewers and include a lunch stop at a heritage hotel. Wine and non-alcoholic beverage are available, too. And how good is the name?

While in Castlemaine…settle in at charming Theatre Royal, which features a cinema, live music, and a cosy bar.

Stay at: BIG4 Castlemaine.

All aboard for tasty brews and countryside views.

5. Australian National Surfing Museum, Torquay

Billed as the world’s largest surfing museum, this Torquay attraction offers an incredibly comprehensive overview of a sport entrenched in Australian culture. The museum recounts the history of surfing in this country, and its importance on the global stage, via all sorts of interesting exhibitions and a boat-load of memorabilia. A collection of 150-plus surfboards is among the highlights. Captivating, even if surfing isn’t your thing.

Alternatively: Check out the action-packed Museum of Vehicle Evolution in Shepparton.

Stay at: BIG4 Anglesea or BIG4 Aireys Inlet.

Ringing endorsement: The Torquay museum is highly rated. Credit: Australian National Surfing Museum.

6. Historical trestle bridges, Gippsland

This swarming region is home to a few historical bridges that hark back to its busy railway days. The towering structures make for fascinating exploration and dramatic photos. Two standouts are the Noojee Trestle Bridge, which is surrounded by huge forest; and the Bourne Creek Trestle Bridge in Kilcunda, which overlooks the beach. Nowadays, bridges of this kind are rarities in Victoria.

Alternatively: Latrobe Regional Gallery in Morwell is an underrated gem.

Stay at: BIG4 parks in Gippsland.

There's something mystical about the sight of the Noojee Trestle Bridge.

7. Rutherglen Wine Region

Spotted near the Murray River, 300km northeast of Melbourne, Rutherglen is a star. The well-preserved, old-gold town oozes immediate charm, which spreads to a cluster of equally alluring boutique wineries that frames it. These cellar doors form part of one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, which has earned international prominence for its fortified varieties as well as robust reds. Get there, wine lovers!

Alternatively: Shiraz reigns supreme in the Heathcote wine district, near Bendigo.

Stay at: BIG4 Borderland Wodonga or BIG4 Wangaratta.

History in a glass: Rutherglen. Pictured: Scion Wine.

8. Ballarat Municipal Observatory

This is one of those attractions that seems to find itself in the underrated pile. The Ballarat building is the oldest municipal observatory in Australia, having opened in 1886. From here, there are exceptional opportunities to be wowed by the night sky: winter is a peak viewing period. The site also contains a 3D movie theatre and displays a huge assortment of astronomical instruments. Bookings are essential.

While in the city…Ballarat Bird World delivers entertainment for all.

Stay at: BIG4 Ballarat Windmill or BIG4 NRMA Ballarat.

This pic does not do justice to the visual treats that await visitors inside. Credit: Visit Ballarat.

9. Enchanted Adventure Garden, Mornington Peninsula

This Arthurs Seat attraction delivers bucketloads of fun and holds genuine interest for kids of diverse age ranges. It keeps adults entertained, too. The sprawling garden is packed with mazes, an enchanted lake, giant tube slides, canopy walks, a brilliant playground, and more. At an extra cost to the general admission fee are tree-climbing challenges and an exhilarating zipline experience.

While on the Mornington Peninsula…soak up spectacular views on the Arthurs Seat Eagle.

Stay at: BIG4 Mornington Peninsula.

Want to explore more of Mornington? Here is your handy peninsula guide.

Enthralling for all ages.

10. The Pinnacles walks, Grampians National Park

The Pinnacle Lookout is one of Victoria’s most iconic viewing platforms. The distinctive rocky ledge gifts jaw-dropping vistas of the surrounding landscape, which includes craggy mountains, extensive forest, Lake Bellfield, Halls Gap township, and more. Three designated walks of varying distances and difficulty lead to this popular vantage point and are full of interest themselves.

Alternatively: Follow the 7km return Mackenzie River Walk to witness a wondrous waterfall.

Stay at: BIG4 NRMA Halls Gap.

The height of sublime scenery: Pinnacle Lookout.

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